As the whirlwind of last week’s National Entrepreneurship Week winds down, I can’t help but feel totally energized by everything that happened.
There was so much excitement from new and seasoned entrepreneurs alike, that it was impossible not to walk away inspired by the work of our entrepreneurial community. It was truly a week-long celebration of the entrepreneurial spirit where successful entrepreneurs like Ariela Suster, founder of Sequence and Chase Jarvis, founder of CreativeLive could come together and inspire the next generation of budding business owners.
I heard so many personal stories, like from John Carroll, manager of local business outreach for Yelp, who talked about how he was inspired to become an entrepreneur thanks to his parents, who are small business owners. I also heard from Kate Bradley Chernis, co-founder and CEO of Lately, who began her career as a radio producer, engineer, voice talent and host before she switched gears and founded her company that is comprised of a SaaS platform that unifies marketing processes and tools.
As I think back on the week, there are a few overarching themes that stood out as being particularly important to entrepreneurs.
Among those themes was the importance of networking.
So many of the events last week were built to facilitate interaction among attendees; to get them out of their comfort zones and speaking to others who are dealing with a similar set of challenges. It’s so important to share your ideas with other entrepreneurs in a place where you feel comfortable, and I saw a lot of that engagement throughout the week. It began as early as Monday when we hosted a TweetChat with Anita Campbell as well as hundreds of like-minded individuals and kept the momentum going throughout the week.
An interesting perspective that emerged from conversation is that entrepreneurs of different ages can have a similar vision for how to build a successful brand but approach it very differently. Think: youthpreneurs to boomerpreneurs.
You don’t have to be years removed from college to be a successful entrepreneur. UGG Boots founder Brian Smith, is a great advocate for the power of entrepreneurship in later life, i.e. the boomerpreneur. Whether a youngster or a boomer, what is certain is that the entrepreneurial community is highly engaged and optimistic about their future opportunities. So many entrepreneurs, both young and old, interacting with each other left me feeling confident about the state of this vital aspect of the U.S. economy.
Across many of our discussions, the impact technology has on all aspects of business was prevalent. Technology has proven essential to entrepreneurs with small budgets and big goals. That’s why we walked attendees through demonstrations of products like Skype for Business and Office 365, both onsite at the CreativeLive event and at Microsoft Stores across the country to accommodate those who couldn’t make it in person. We wanted everyone to have an opportunity to see how technology can boost a business.
To continue providing entrepreneurial inspiration, today we are launching our 10 Under 10 eGuide – a collection of inspiring stories where we celebrate 10 all-star microbusinesses, who are making a big impact with fewer than 10 employees. These audacious SMB owners began with a vision and determination that has been turned into a successful venture.
During the CreativeLive webcast, I had the pleasure of seeing Mikaila Ulmer, the 12-year-old visionary behind Me & the Bees (and one of the entrepreneurs featured in the eguide). I was impressed with her confidence, can-do attitude and entrepreneurial wisdom that extends well beyond her years. I can’t wait to see how she continues to grow her business.
I remain enthused by the broad engagement created by National Entrepreneurship Week and look forward to seeing the conversation evolve and take on new dimensions as we progress toward next year’s celebration of entrepreneurs.